The Paradise: Children’s Hour

Previously on The Paradise: Miss Audrey got sick, which put Denise in charge of ladieswear for a little while. Catherine broke up with Peter, because she apparently only wants what she can’t have.

Catherine sits at her desk, writing a letter she sprays with perfume before folding and sending on its way. Her father sees it going down the stairs in the hands of a manservant, notes that it’s for Moray, and tosses it back at the man with a curt nod for him to go about his business.

Dudley spots Denise returning from an errand, which she explains was for Miss A, apparently to get her out of the store for a little while. Denise doesn’t mind, though, because it gives her a chance to see what the other shops are up to. Dudley advises her to practice humility for just a little while, and that Miss A will eventually forget Denise was in charge of her department. Yeah, right. Denise says she wants Miss A to like her. Sorry, Denise, but don’t hold your breath.

Moray heads outside and spots Glendenning just standing in the middle of the street. Does this man have nothing to do all day? He goes over to him and Glendenning asks why work on the proposed expansion hasn’t begun yet. Moray admits the barber next door—a man called Burroughs, by the look of the sign—is proving obstinate. Glendenning, who’s looking for a reason to roast Moray a bit, tells him to get a move on already or he’ll withdraw his loan. Moray guesses what this is really about and tells him he tried to shake Catherine, but she wouldn’t have it. Glendenning knows, but, as he tells Moray, it was no good, because Catherine and Peter are no more. Moray silently digests this and Glendenning heads back towards his carriage, telling Moray he’ll leave it up to him what to do about Cate.

Moray receives her letter, crumples it up, and starts to pen a reply in his study.

The reply reaches Catherine’s hands and she doesn’t look delighted.

Denise makes her way to Burroughs Barbers and peeks in the window. He—a skinny, rather smarmy looking type, sees her and gives her a slimy smile, so she takes off. She passes by Arthur, who calls her attention to Catherine, who’s going in and out of every shop on the other side of the street.

At The Par, Dudley and Moray discuss the offer to the barber. Moray tells him to get the papers ready. He then dashes off to go tell Denise and Clara, who are walking by with little baskets full of small boxes, to put them by the door to create a crush of people. A crush of people scrambling for tiny boxes? Wow, either the people of this town are really easily excited or Moray thinks very, very little of them.

Catherine has made it all the way to Lovett’s shop, and he practically passes out when he sees her. She declares his little store charming and tells him she wants a dress—something simple, yet elegant. She begins admiring all the fabric and begins talking about more than one dress. Lovett practically glows with pleasure. She says she wants to support the locals. How very millennial yuppy of her. Will she start growing organic next?

Dudley’s getting a shave from Burroughs while Moray and Jonas sit nearby and talk about the Paradise expansion. Burroughs is cool with the expansion, but he wants to be made a partner in return for selling his shop. Moray tells him that’s not going to happen, because The Par is his and his alone. Burroughs says he doesn’t expect to be a full partner or anything, he just wants to be able to move up in the world and wear a suit like them. Dudley tries to get him to take the cash, but Burroughs’s mind has been made up. Moray offers him more time to consider his position and leaves with his little entourage.

Later, he and Dudley discus this impasse. Jonas reminds them that Burroughs is in the catbird seat just now, so maybe they should just give him what he wants. Dudley’s not keen, because they don’t want a dolt running about as a partner with The Paradise. If I were less generous, I’d suggest Dudley’s partly motivated by jealousy at the idea that some barber would be made partner over him. But then, I don’t think Dudley’s that complex a character. And I guess I’m not that generous after all. Jonas tells them that Burroughs is a child who has few business aspirations and just sees the shop as a playground. They’ll keep him on the shop floor—where there are customers, mind, so that seems a rather poor idea—and make him miserable. Moray agrees but wants some sort of protection for the store. Jonas promises to insert a clause into Burroughs’s contract that states he can be tossed out on his ear if he steps over the line. Who draws that line? Burroughs is an idiot if he doesn’t determine that first. Dudley tells them to draw up the papers and then tells Dudley to keep an eye on Burroughs.

At Lovett’s, Denise pours sherry or something while her uncle joyfully gets to work on Catherine’s dress and talks about how quality will always win out in the end. Denise congratulates him, but she seems rather wary, as she should. But that wariness crumbles into nothing when her uncle says this is a sign of good things to come. Him saying so makes it true!

As she leaves, Moray catches her outside and she almost immediately spills that Cate ordered a dress from her uncle. Moray seems thrown by this.

Catherine’s shopping spree is the talk of the Paradise dining room. Pauline wonders why Catherine would do that and Sam worries that this might harm The Paradise, just when they’re trying to expand. Denise ignores them and goes to Miss A to pitch her newest idea: open the ladieswear department to gentlemen only for one afternoon out of the week so they can shop for gifts for their wives. Yeah, their ‘wives.’ Miss A is horrified by such a vulgar notion.

But apparently ladieswear has recently gotten some pricy lingerie in, and nobody’s buying it, according to Moray, who tells the girls a little later that they need to find ways to get more business in during the quiet times. Miss A, naturally, pitches the gentlemen’s afternoon as if it were her own. Moray agrees that this could work. Miss A accepts his praise and tells him inspiration came to her late at night. Miss A, don’t oversell. Denise looks upset, though I’m not sure why she’s surprised by this. As Moray goes to leave, Clara foolishly goes to him and, in a really weak code, asks him why he won’t nail her again. He tells her that some things come with really grave consequences.

In their room that night, Clara whines to Pauline that Moray’s been ignoring her since Denise came. Pauline reminds her that he dumped her ass way before Denise showed up, and she needs to get over it already. Clara won’t let it go, because Moray was talking about his wife and crying and everything and she’s sure that means something. Denise bursts in, squealing about Miss A stealing her idea, like Clara cares. She swirls back out and Clara declares she’s not going to let Denise steal Moray from her. Damn, this woman is delusional, isn’t she? Also, I guess any development of her character and relationship with Denise has just gone out the window as if that episode two weeks back never happened. Clara’s sure there’s some dirt on Denise in Jonas’s little black book and swears to find it, despite Pauline telling her to lay off.

Burroughs shows up for his first day of work in a really loud, awful suit. Dudley tells both Sam and Pauline that Burroughs will be working there and he needs them to look after him. Pauline and Sam act all snobby about him, because he’s just a barber, while Dudley goes to tell Burroughs he needs to start mastering the shop floor. Burroughs only wants to get an office and see Moray. Dudley instead introduces Sam.

Upstairs, ladieswear prepares to receive the men. Miss A calls this an historic day and tells them they must be decorous and avoid accentuating the bosoms. They line up expectantly, and while they wait, Miss A tells Denise she wants to clear up any misunderstandings about this endeavor. Isn’t this a bad time to start this particular discussion? Miss A says the only thing that’s important is that ladieswear shines in Moray’s eyes. Instead of just taking that and stepping back, which seems like the prudent thing to do just now, Denise gets snippy and reminds Miss A that she thought the idea was vulgar.

The gentlemen show up and the girls immediately start showing off the corsets, despite Miss A trying to reign them in.

Downstairs, Sam tries to school Burroughs on appropriate appearance for the shop floor. Burroughs thinks he looks great and goes to hit on Pauline and invite her to a dog fight, despite her attempts to put him off. She tries to be patient and somewhat polite, but his utterly creepy movements into her personal space and heavy mouthbreathing get to be a bit much and she turns him down flat when he asks her out.

The men upstairs are being shown feathers and corsets while Miss A tries not to faint. Clara’s putting on quite a show with a feather. And then all the men’s wives mysteriously appear, clutching their pearls and yelling at Miss Audrey for running a palace of sin. Who told the ladies about this? I really expected there to be more to this story, but apparently they just have really good intuition when it comes to their husbands enjoying themselves a little too much. The ladies march the men out while Miss A tries to babble apologies and explanations. Clara practically busts a corset string with pleasure that, for once, one of Denise’s ideas didn’t work out.

Denise goes to her uncle’s and admires the dress for Catherine, which is really coming together. He tells her how much better artisan work is than what you can just buy in the shop. He asks her to help out with Catherine’s fitting the next night. She sputters that she can be fired for taking on extra work, but he guilts the hell out of her, so she agrees.

Catherine’s two married friends have taken their outrage over the gentlemen’s afternoon to her, though she, of course, is more amused by it than anything. They ask her why she’s shopping around at other places and comment that it looks like provocation. Catherine says she hopes so and explains she’s shopping along the street to get his attention. Jesus, what a child. She makes Mary Crawley look mature and centred, and you know how I feel about that entitled, obnoxious cow. Catherine says she’s playing hard-to-get until Moray magically decides to devote himself entirely to her. Moron. Why would he?

At the store, Clara catches up to Dudley and tells him that Denise was the one who came up with gentlemen’s evening. Yes, but Miss A and Moray sanctioned it, so we can’t lay it all at Denise’s door, can we? Clara desperately goes on to say that everyone’s gossiping about how Denise clearly has designs on Moray, like Dudley really cares. She urges him to ask Jonas about it, and then asks if Jonas was there before or after Moray’s wife died. He arrived just before, apparently. She wonders if he wrote about her death in his little book. Dudley tells her to go about her work. He might want to add a warning about minding her own damn business, too. He does not, and that’s why he’s not partner material.

Burroughs is hard selling some gloves, stroking a customer’s hand as he does so. She seems rather titillated, but Dudley is infuriated when he catches sight of this and pulls Burroughs aside for a scolding. Burroughs yells that he’s a partner, whereas Dudley is nothing. And then, just to cement his asshole status, Burroughs snaps at Arthur to bring him some tea. He then stomps over to Pauline to completely insult her by telling her she should be grateful to him for asking her out. She tells him that a suit doesn’t make a man, even one that doesn’t fit. Go, Pauline!

Moray’s up in ladieswear, dissecting what went wrong with gentlemen’s afternoon. Miss A apologises and then throws Denise under the bus by claiming one of the girls actually came up with the idea. She also oh-so-subtly gestures in Denise’s direction. Audrey, how do you think that makes you look any better? Now you just seem like you have no ideas of your own and you’re a liar, idea thief, and coward. Well done. Moray ignores that and says they need to refocus on the ladies. Miss A, as she does, sucks up for a while and claims she was thinking just the same thing. Moray urges them to think of a way to tantalise the lady customers. Nobody says anything. He looks pointedly at Denise, who, of course, clearly has an idea, but she remains silent. Miss A promises they’ll put their minds to it. Before he goes, Moray pulls Denise aside and asks if she has any ideas. She says no.

Moray goes downstairs to putter about and think. He’s joined by Dudley, who asks him what’s wrong. Moray confesses he almost slept with Clara again. Not a good idea to talk about this on the sales floor, Moray, You know how these people gossip. Dudley tells him to just settle down already and slake this particular thirst. Moray says it’s too late for that.

Catherine’s being fitted for her gown. She tells Lovett the dress is remarkable, and it does look quite nice on her. It’s a nice change from her usual hideous clothes. Denise is standing by, helping out. Catherine comments that she must think it strange for Catherine to go elsewhere for a dress and Denise says it’s not of her business. Catherine asks if the staff at The Paradise have been gossiping about her. Subtle, Cate. Denise says nothing, so Catherine suggests Lovett display her gown in the window so everyone can see it. Lovett is delighted by the opportunity to advertise the fact that he made Cate a dress.

Later, Denise steals across the street and is immediately intercepted by Jonas, who reminds her she’s not allowed to seek sewing employment outside the store. She stammers an explanation and Jonas promises not to say anything this time, but to remember that Moray demands absolute loyalty from everyone.

The next morning, Burroughs balefully watches Dudley and Jonas having a discussion in the delivery yard. Dudley goes back inside and Jonas comes over to tell Burroughs it doesn’t look like things are going to work out for him at The Paradise. Burroughs won’t let go so easily, though. He’s not afraid of his contract or its clause and threatens to reveal information about Mrs. Moray’s death, which he apparently overheard from his shop. Jonas tells him to tread carefully but Burroughs says he and Moray are going to be best buds.

Moray asks Jonas how long before they can get rid of Burroughs. Jonas asks to deal with Burroughs personally and Moray, suddenly distracted by the sight of Catherine’s dress in Lovett’s window, gives him permission to do so. Also, I’ve been spelling Katherine’s name wrong this whole time. Sorry!

Moray heads to Mount Glendenning that evening and asks to speak to Kate about the dress. Kate’s having a  party, and she rather manically tries to introduce him around but all he wants to do is ask what the hell she’s up to. He mentions the dress in Lovett’s window and pulls her aside to tell her half the city is talking about her waltzing up and down the street, conspicuously shopping elsewhere. Her mood changes in an instant and she snaps at him to leave. Moray tells her that she’s being cruel, toying with these shopkeepers and giving them hope they can survive the juggernaut that is The Paradise. Kate doesn’t want to hear it and slaps him when he tells her she’s a spoiled child. And that gets him all hot and he starts making out with her. Whatever. I don’t understand or care about these people. They bore me. And she really is an obnoxious child. And why does she even want this guy? Oh, whatever.

The staff is complaining about Burroughs to Dudley, though they’re totally preaching to the choir here. He reassures them Burroughs will be gone soon. Jonas comes in, then, and Dudley goes over to ask him if Burroughs is gone yet. Jonas tells him they can’t get rid of Burroughs just yet, but he’s going to take care of it. Dudley asks why they can’t just fire him but Jonas buttons up.

Katherine’s across the street at Lovett’s, paying him off and telling him she doesn’t want the dress after all. He’s not surprised, and he bitterly observes that she never wanted the dress at all, and that she can just buy and sell people like him at her pleasure. Katherine totally doesn’t get it and keeps reminding him that he was paid, but that’s not the point, Kate. You used a human being in some stupid mind game you’re playing with Moray, and that’s absolutely despicable. And then you tried to buy the guy off, which just makes you that much more disgusting. Peter Adler had a lucky escape, here. Lovett says he will take the money, but he’s also going to finish the dress, because that’s the kind of person he is. He wants to be able to look himself in the mirror and know he’s a man of his word. You know what? He’s growing on me.

Moray has called Denise into his office, where he confirms that gentlemen’s afternoon was her idea. She admits it. He asks her for another idea to remedy his reputation and reminds her that her loyalty is to him, not Miss Audrey. Denise mentions the lingerie and  tells him the ladies are uncomfortable being seen considering it, so they need to make it fun. Her idea of how to do that? Sex it up: Ladies After Dark. How, exactly, is that going to smooth the ruffled feathers of these uptight women? They’re all upset because they think The Paradise is some sort of den of sin, how is offering sex on a platter going to remedy that? This makes no sense.

Anyway, the plan: invite selected ladies to the store after it’s closed and model the lingerie for them, in candlelight, because mood lighting is important. Moray loves the idea and calls Denise his little champion.

Katherine has reported to the store and wants to see Moray, but Arthur reports Moray’s not in his office. She leaves and Arthur tells Dudley that Moray was in his office all along but said to tell Kate he wasn’t. Dudley sends him away.

Moray heads up to ladieswear to tell them about the Ladies After Dark event. Why Miss A doesn’t consider this idea vulgar I don’t know. Probably because it’s Moray pitching it, not Denise. Moray tells them this will have to be super secret and seductive. He asks Miss A to draw up a list of ladies to invite. She awkwardly agrees, tumbling over her words, as she often does. Denise can’t even hide her smug smile.

Burroughs has now decided to try his luck with Clara. Man, you have no idea what you’re getting into, Burroughs. You’ll be lucky to walk away from this conversation with your balls intact. She bluntly tells him not a single girl in The Paradise will go out with him. He tries to sell his partner position and begins chattering darkly about the things he knows about Moray.

And now he ups the creepy quotient by accosting Pauline in an empty stairwell. She tells him to get lost because he’s just a barber, but he insists he isn’t—he’s got a suit on and everything—and he tries to kiss her, despite her obvious fear and shout for him to get away from her. Arthur comes flying out of nowhere and tries to pull Burroughs off of her, but in the melee he ends up getting thrown down the stairs. He cradles his wrist and looks up at Burroughs, who looks terrified.

Arthur’s taken to Moray’s office, where Dudley insists that the time has come to get rid of Burroughs. Moray tells Jonas to get rid of Burroughs immediately. Jonas dismisses Arthur and tells Moray that Burroughs would spread stories up and down the street if he were dismissed. So what? Counter with your own stories about how he assaulted two employees. He’s skeevy enough I bet the others would believe you (it is true, after all). Jonas is afraid the gossip might incite further resistance from the neighboring shopkeepers and asks for a few days with Burroughs to “work on him.” Damn, that sounds scary. What’s Jonas’s story, anyway?

Katherine waits at home for Moray to come visit, but the carriage pulling up is her father’s. He notes that she seems a bit disappointed and tells her she’s being toyed with, just as she toyed with Moray. He asks her why she wants anything to do with a man who clearly cares nothing for her. He also wonders why he lets her and she perkily tells him he can’t stop her. Yeah, I guess he missed the boat on that one.

Moray finds Denise in ladieswear, which is aglow with candlelight. He observes that she’s still working while the other girls have gone out for the evening. She says it isn’t work and he clearly admires that. He asks what brought her there and she explains that, growing up in a small town, she always wanted more. He agrees that more is a wonderful feeling. She goes on to say that she feels like she belongs at The Paradise and is part of something thrilling. She really speaks his language, doesn’t she? He murmurs that he’ll have to keep an eye on her, or she’ll have his job someday. Together, they start blowing out the candles before going to bed. Separately, in case anyone was wondering.

Clara is comforting Pauline who is, understandably, still quite shaken up. Clara wonders why Burroughs is still at the shop and tells Pauline the guy claims to know something about Moray’s wife. Pauline warns her not to upset the man but Clara’s not scared of him.

The next day, Clara comes across Jonas’s notebook, which he’s conveniently left sitting on a table. But before she can snatch it, Jonas returns and catches her in the act. She claims she was just going to return it to him. He insincerely thanks her. She asks about Moray’s wife, wondering if she’s as tenderhearted as everyone says. Jonas says she was.

Upstairs, Miss A is explaining the idea of Ladies After Dark to a gaggle of regulars. She hands them their invitations and tells them this is all very hush-hush.

Downstairs, Jonas sidles up to Burroughs and tells him Moray wants to invite him to a party. A private party. If Burroughs doesn’t realize this is sketchy, considering he should be expecting to be fired any second, than he’s a moron. He falls for it, partly because Jonas sells it as a night at a girlie club.  He offers to pick Burroughs up later that night.

Lovett carefully wraps up Katherine’s dress, his hands lingering on the box for a few moments. And then we cut to Kate’s hands on the box as she lifts the lid and finds the dress inside, along with Lovett’s card. She picks it up and looks the teensiest bit guilty.

At The Paradise, ladieswear has been prepped for Ladies After Dark. Moray examines the displays and declares it all splendid. Denise tells him he has to get lost. Moray obligingly leaves. She pulls down a little lock of hair, just as he advised her to do in the season premiere.

Ladies file in and are treated to Paradise salesgirls modeling the lingerie in vignettes. Denise, of course, gets a vignette of her very own, and while she stands there, Clara taunts her from the wings, commenting that Denise must wish Moray could be there to see her success. “You see it, Clara. Perhaps that’s enough for me this time,” Denise snarks back. Ha! Ok, that won some points for me. I wish we got to see this side of Denise a bit more. She’s such a Mary Sue it’s dull and annoying.

Outside, Jonas picks Burroughs up in a carriage and they take off together. Arthur watches them go.

Upstairs, the ladies debate corset purchases. Many are made. Denise smiles at her success.

Later, when the event’s over, Moray strides into ladieswear, looking for Denise, but she’s not there.

Burroughs has, apparently, vanished. For two days so far. Woah. I’m kind of scared of Jonas now. And yet, Dudley does not seem concerned. Sam and Pauline ask if he’s been fired, but all Dudley will say is that he seemed to have found out The Paradise wasn’t for him.

Jonas, meanwhile, goes to see Moray. Has Jonas been gone two days as well? What the hell happened? This aspect is about 50 times more interesting than Katherine’s nonsense or all the lingerie stuff. Jonas reports that Burroughs made explicit threats against Moray, blackmail-like threats about revealing something about Moray’s wife’s death. Moray blanches. No problem, though, Jonas has rectified the issue. Moray asks where Burroughs is and Jonas says he’d rather Moray not ask that. Jesus, that’s sinister! Moray asks what Jonas has done and Jonas says he just did his duty, and his loyalty is now assured. Yikes! Moray dismisses him and turns to look up at his wife’s portrait.

That evening, he goes to see Katherine, who apparently sent him a frantic note. She tells him she wants to stop hurting him and other people. She just wants to love him and asks if he’ll let her do that. He says nothing, though he does allow her to kiss him on the cheek.

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